Las Vegas, NV — UFC bantamweight Ricky Simon capped off an impressive 2021 on Saturday at UFC Vegas 45.
Simon (19-3) knocked out Raphael Assuncao in the second round, securing his first KO in the UFC in the process. That sort of finish has been a long time coming for Simon, who was a finishing machine early in his career, but who hadn’t won by knockout since a 2018 fight back in LFA.
“It’s funny because everyone just thinks of me as a wrestler, because I put that wrestling pace on,” Simson told Cageside Press backstage at the UFC Apex following the fight. “But I have some power too, and I have had some knockouts in the past. I said once I get more comfortable in that UFC octagon, that’s going to start shining through some more. The more comfortable I’ve gotten and the more I put the right coaches around me, it’s going to keep happening.”
In all likelihood, Simon will land in the bantamweight rankings later this week — a position he’s been in before. Being ranked “feels right,” said Simon. “I was ranked two years ago, and then I suffered some losses and had to build myself back up on a four fight win streak. I belong with the best in the division, I belong in the rankings, so it feels right.”
Simon has been vocal about calling out Sean O’Malley, and nearly found himself booked against the “Suga Show” fighter earlier this year. It’s a bout he called for again on Saturday, but he also made clear that he’s not trying to bully O’Malley into the fight.
“I know he has a plan and a vision for whatever he’s doing. All I’m trying to do is move up the rankings and become the UFC’s bantamweight world champion,” stated Simon. “If it’s not him, punch up. Someone in the top 10 would be great. I had a super close fight with Rob Font as well, so maybe a rematch in the future. I don’t know. I feel like the bantamweight division’s so stacked, that there’s so many options.”
Asked to reflect on his 2021, Simon was clearly upbeat. “Damn, 3-0 this year, it was pretty good! January, February, bam! Signed a new UFC contract before this one. Second round knockout— it’s going good, man. Things are good. Looking up.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 45 post-fight press appearance with Ricky Simon above. More coverage from the event can be found below.